Orange County seniors comprise about 8 percent of California’s senior population, which is expected to double in the next 20 years. With numbers like that, it’s important to make sure your website is “senior friendly.”
Plus, following some senior friendly guidelines can increase the sales for any website, especially because many seniors have substantial disposable incomes. Also, since web designers tend to be young, many websites are too hard to navigate for older generation. Here are some ways to make your website senior friendly from the National Institute of Aging:
- Break information into short sections. Giving people a small amount of content at one time makes it easier for them to grasp and recall information. A website with a simple design, uncluttered layout, clear labels, and short sections of information can make it easier for older adults to select content, absorb and retain what they read, and avoid information overload.
- Give instructions clearly and number each step. This also makes a site more visually appealing than a block of type.
- Minimize the use of jargon and technical terms.
- Use single mouse clicks.
- Allow additional space around clickable targets.
- Use 12- or 14-point type size, and make it easy for users to enlarge text.
- Use high-contrast color combinations, such as black type against a white background.
- Provide a speech function to hear text read aloud.
- Provide text-only versions of multimedia content.
- Minimize scrolling.
Here are some specific design elements to keep in mind:
- Use a sans serif typeface, such as Helvetica, that is not condensed. Avoid the use of serif, novelty, and display typefaces.
- Use medium or bold face type.
- Present body text in upper and lowercase letters. Use all capital letters and italics in headlines only. Reserve underlining for links.
- Double space all body text.
- Left justify (or Ragged Right) body text.
- Avoid yellow and blue and green in close proximity. These colors and juxtapositions are difficult for some older adults to discriminate. Ensure that text and graphics are understandable when viewed on a black and white monitor.
- Use dark type or graphics against a light background, or white lettering on a black or dark-colored background. Avoid patterned backgrounds.
Every Orange County business has its favorite customer service story: the irate customer who threw her purchases or the one who wouldn’t stop talking. But your customers have their favorite story, too. What are they saying about your customer service? Today, with social media at everyone’s fingertips, one bad customer service story could bring down your business. So let’s get back to basics and see how you measure up.
First impressions: What reaction do your customers have when they enter your business or Web site? Is it disorganized and hard to navigate? Did your customer have trouble parking? Was the customer greeted by an employee or ignored? Especially in ecommerce, first impressions can make the difference between a customer hanging around and checking out what you have to offer or quickly leaving your site for a friendlier one.
Questions and answers: How knowledgeable is your staff to answer customers questions? And do they help in a friendly manner? Nothing turns customers off more than rude staff. If you don’t want to pay for a mystery shopping service that acts like a customer and rates your service, get a friend to call and try and get help. Or have that friend come in the store and “test” your customer service. Get honest evaluations and use those criticisms to make needed changes. Also, remember, today customers expect to be able to get help 24/7, particularly online. Set up your Web site with FAQs or an auto-response letting your customers know you’ll get back to them ASAP. And then answer in a timely manner.
Get Feedback: Whether in your store or on the Web, ask your customers for their feedback? In person, ask if they’re finding everything they need or if there’s something you don’t carry. Online, have them fill out a short survey on what they liked and didn’t like about their shopping experience. Offer an incentive such as a discount on their next purchase if they take the survey. You can also have comment cards set up in your business for them to fill out in person.
Follow up: Don’t let your customer walk out the door or click out of your website without a follow-up plan. Depending on your business, you could follow up with a phone call, a card or letter, or an email. Ask your customers if they are satisfied with their purchase or if there’s a way you can be of further service. Then promote more services or products you think they make be interested in.
Remember, to compete in today’s market, customer service is the crucial element that can set your business apart from the pack.
Need more ideas? Make an appointment with a SCORE OC mentor today!